Upon learning that a local mission was in need of a new home, Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church happily opened its doors and on Sunday, Nov. 3, welcomed Our Lady of Guadalupe and Fr. Antonio Brito into our community. Holding worship on Sundays at 5 p.m., the mission serves more than 100 people each week.
The partnership serves a need that is close to home, as HIEC has supported Hispanic-Latino ministries for decades, with programs such as Horizons Atlanta, English as a Second Language classes and the Community Assistance Center, all of which were started by HIEC.
“Inviting an Episcopal Mission to join us and bringing a Spanish-speaking community into our halls feels like a natural and God-filled way to continue our work and ministry,” The Rev. Dr. Bill Murray, HIEC rector, wrote in a recent blog.
While many church organizations without physical homes meet in school facilities or even office buildings, the use of an actual church space is impactful, especially for religious ceremonies. The Our Lady of Guadalupe mission already has scheduled more than 20 children to participate in their First Communion, four baptisms and three quinceaneras, which is a ceremony to celebrate a girl’s 15th birthday.
“They are very excited to have a new home,” Fr. Murray said. “Our space is available, the time is available and our facility is well-maintained.”
After the first service, which was attended by 140 people, including some HIEC parishioners, attendees held a fiesta to celebrate their arrival at HIEC. Another event is scheduled on Sunday, Dec. 8, for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“I have enjoyed our new beginning,” Fr. Brito said. “I hope our community will grow here.”
“We have so many things to learn about another facet of the kingdom of God,” Fr. Murray said. “We have different ways of doing the same thing and it’s fascinating to see and learn.”
The mission also brought with them two additions to the HIEC sanctuary—a small shrine and banner for Our Lady of Guadalupe, so named for the Virgin Mary who appeared to an indigenous Mexican named Juan Diego in 1531 in Villa de Guadalupe, a suburb of Mexico City. She is the patron saint of Mexico and is a symbol of Mexican identity and faith.